In just a few years, streaming services like Netflix and Spotify have transformed the way we consume media. We’re now renting access to catalogs of content rather than purchasing individual songs, movies, and shows, and generally speaking that’s been a money saver—tens of millions of tunes for one monthly fee, for example.

However, you have to keep paying to keep watching or listening—and these streaming services are continuing to hike up their prices over time. That means staying subscribed to everything is becoming increasingly costly.

One way to save money is to pick and choose which services you sign up to on a month-by-month basis. This works best for TV and movie platforms, but it can also apply to music, podcasts, and audiobooks, if you can do without access for a certain time. If you are going to save money by subscription hopping, there are some key points to consider.

Know your dates

When you unsubscribe from a streaming service, you still get access for the rest of the month that you’ve paid for. What’s more, you can reactivate your plan any time—so you could take a couple of weeks off rather than the whole month.

By keeping track of these dates  you can make sure you’re on top of when your subscriptions start and stop. In the case of the video streamers, for instance, you can schedule your sign ups so that you’ve always got something to watch, even if it’s a different library of content each month.

Keep an eye on the dates your subscriptions run to. Screenshot: Disney

Know the rules

Streaming platforms won’t keep your personal information around indefinitely—so after a certain period of time, you won’t be able to recover your playlists or your viewing history. Make sure you know the expiration limits for each of the services you use.

You might be told this information when you cancel a subscription, but you can usually find it elsewhere too. For example, with Netflix, you’ve got 10 months to restart your old account before you’ll have to create a new one. If you’re not certain, contact the streaming app support team directly.

If there’s a free plan offer—as there is with Spotify—then your information will stick around until you completely delete your account. You can still see your playlists and listening history, you just can’t access premium features.

Know what’s showing

This only really applies to movies and TV, but it helps to know what’s arriving on your favorite streaming platforms, and what’s leaving. This will often be highlighted inside the apps themselves, but there’s  information on the web too: Keep your eye on sites such as What’s On Disney Plus and What’s On Netflix.

This helps you schedule your subscriptions over time. If you know a must-watch show is coming to Apple TV Plus later in the year, for example, but there’s nothing on the platform you want to watch now, then you can manage your sign ups accordingly.

Know the pricing

Something else to track, and which is fairly easily done, are the prices that each streaming service is charging you. While these prices keep going up and up over time, it’s helpful to know all your different plan options.

Netflix, for instance, now has a plan with adverts. Amazon Music has a selection of plans, with different features and music catalogs, depending on how much you want to spend and what you want to listen to.

You’ll often have options when it comes to streaming plans. Screenshot: Netflix

Know your options

The more you know about your streaming services, the more effective your subscription hopping is going to be. Don’t assume that you have to pay the regular price month after month to stay connected to your music, movies, and shows.

There are free tiers available on certain music services, like Spotify and Deezer, for example: Do they give you enough functionality for what you need (at least for a couple of months, if not forever)? 

Bundles are another way of saving money (though check how long you’re locked in for). Take a look at Apple One, which may save you some money. Check with your services and apps to see if there are any special offers available: You might be able to get a streaming service included with your broadband provider, or cell phone carrier.

One final option is a family plan. If you live with other people, just about every streaming service offers a plan for multiple members that you can split the cost on—it’s something else to think about when you’re calculating how much you’re spending each month and the services you’d like to jump between.

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